These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In North Carolina For 2019


We analyzed over 57 places in North Carolina to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

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Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the best places to retire in North Carolina.

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When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.

But not not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of North Carolina.

Where exactly in North Carolina is the best place to retire? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data — which returns Newton as the best place to hang up your cleats.

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in North Carolina that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.

What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Newton don’t mind us spreading the word.

Here are our top ten places in the Tar Heel State to retire for 2019:

Why did Newton take the top spot? And where are Fayetteville and Cary?

Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details or check out the best places to retire in America.

For North Carolina state reading:

How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Tar Heel State for 2019

To create our list of the best places in North Carolina to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Tar Heel State — 736 cities and towns.

We then narrowed it down to places with at least 10,000 people that weren’t townships. This left us with 57 places from across the state.

For these 57, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living as measured by rent
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport
  • Other retirees (High median age)

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 57, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Newton, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

Newton, NC

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 12,999
Rank Last Year: 23 (Up 22)
Median Rent: $679
Distance to Closest Airport: 34 miles
More on Newton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Tarboro, NC

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 11,206
Rank Last Year: 36 (Up 34)
Median Rent: $670
Distance to Closest Airport: 68 miles
More on Tarboro: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Tarboro is a town located in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, United States. It is part of the Rocky Mount Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the town had a population of 11,415. It is the county seat of Edgecombe County. Tarboro is located near the western edge of North Carolina’s coastal plain. It has many historical churches, some dating from the early 19th century.

Review Of Tarboro by Paschasia Basemore

I live in North Carolina and in Tarboro and Tarboro looks nothing like that today the worst city to live in Rocky Mount where the crime rate is extremely high y’all fail to mention that

Lenoir, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 17,956
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 11)
Median Rent: $585
Distance to Closest Airport: 57 miles
More on Lenoir: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lenoir is a city in Caldwell County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 18,228 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Caldwell County. Lenoir is located in the Blue Ridge foothills. To the northeast are the Brushy Mountains, a spur of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hibriten Mountain, located just east of the city limits, marks the western end of the Brushy Mountains range.

Albemarle, NC

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 15,968
Rank Last Year: 22 (Up 18)
Median Rent: $623
Distance to Closest Airport: 43 miles
More on Albemarle: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Albemarle is a small city and the county seat of Stanly County, North Carolina. The population was 15,903 in the 2010 Census. Gerald R. “Ronnie” Michael serves as Mayor and Albemarle has seven-member City Council elected in a combination of at-large and district seats. Albemarle has operated under the Council-Manager form of government since 1962. Michael Ferris has served as City Manager since December of 2014 and previously served as Assistant City Manager for nearly two decades. The City Manager is appointed by the City Council, and is responsible for the day to day administration of City government. The City-s Department Heads report directly to the City Manager, who is also responsible for development and administration of the City-s annual budget.

Rocky Mount, NC

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 56,175
Rank Last Year: 34 (Up 29)
Median Rent: $715
Distance to Closest Airport: 55 miles
More on Rocky Mount: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Rocky Mount is a city in Edgecombe and Nash counties in the Atlantic coastal plain region of the U.S. state of North Carolina. Although it was not formally incorporated until February 28, 1907, the North Carolina community that became the city of Rocky Mount dates from the beginning of the 19th century. The first post office in the area opened in 1816. The city’s population was 57,685 at the 2010 census, with an estimated population of 56,325 in 2014. Rocky Mount has received the All-America City Award from the National Civic League two times, in 1969 and 1999.

Review Of Rocky Mount by Lebrun Jemz

I live in Rocky mount yall just done seen the pictures it’s really good here it is a nice place

Eden, NC

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 15,434
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 3)
Median Rent: $632
Distance to Closest Airport: 68 miles
More on Eden: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Eden is a city in Rockingham County, North Carolina in the Piedmont area of the U.S. state of North Carolina. The population was 15,527 at the 2010 census. From the late nineteenth century through much of the 20th, the city was a center of textile mills and manufacturing. The city was incorporated in 1967 through the consolidation of three separate towns: Leaksville, Spray, and Draper. The phone Area code is area code 336.

Review Of Eden by Lester Hall

I lived in Eden N.C. and drove a cab nightshift met some of the nicest people in the world. Lot of Jobs. Folks like to party. Nothing wrong with that.

Belmont, NC

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 10,494
Rank Last Year: 61 (Up 54)
Median Rent: $749
Distance to Closest Airport: 5 miles
More on Belmont: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Belmont is a small suburban city in Gaston County, North Carolina, United States, located about 15 miles west of uptown Charlotte and 9 miles east of Gastonia. The population was 10,076 at the 2010 census. Once known as Garibaldi Station, the name change for Belmont is disputed. Some say it was named for a prominent New York banker – August Belmont. Others contend the Pope ordered the abbot of the monastery to change the name since he would not tolerate an abbey in a place that bore the Garibaldi name. The abbot could see Crowder’s mountain from the property and named the town Belmont – “beautiful mountain”. Belmont is home to Belmont Abbey College.

Shelby, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 20,259
Rank Last Year: 21 (Up 13)
Median Rent: $689
Distance to Closest Airport: 34 miles
More on Shelby: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Shelby is a city in and the county seat of Cleveland County, North Carolina, United States. It lies near the western edge of the Charlotte combined statistical area. The population was 20,323 at the 2010 census.

Southern Pines, NC

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 13,258
Rank Last Year: 71 (Up 62)
Median Rent: $772
Distance to Closest Airport: 58 miles
More on Southern Pines: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Southern Pines is a town in Moore County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 12,334 as of the 2010 United States Census.

Kings Mountain, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 11,053
Rank Last Year: 40 (Up 30)
Median Rent: $751
Distance to Closest Airport: 23 miles
More on Kings Mountain: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Kings Mountain is a small suburban city within the Charlotte metropolitan area in Cleveland and Gaston counties, North Carolina, United States. Most of the city is in Cleveland County, with a small eastern portion in Gaston County. The population was 10,296 at the 2010 census. During the Revolutionary War, Patriot militia defeated Loyalist militia in the Battle of Kings Mountain. Liberty Mountain, a play performed at the local theater, tells all about the battle. The downtown area is home to the museum and police station.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire In North Carolina Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in North Carolina goes to Newton.

If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  1. Hope Mills
  2. Monroe
  3. Fayetteville

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Retire In North Carolina

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Newton 12,999 $679
2 Tarboro 11,206 $670
3 Lenoir 17,956 $585
4 Albemarle 15,968 $623
5 Rocky Mount 56,175 $715
6 Eden 15,434 $632
7 Belmont 10,494 $749
8 Shelby 20,259 $689
9 Southern Pines 13,258 $772
10 Kings Mountain 11,053 $751
11 Cary 155,822 $1,084
12 Kinston 21,393 $667
13 Graham 14,506 $687
14 Mount Holly 14,058 $753
15 Mint Hill 25,024 $967
16 Salisbury 33,674 $743
17 Henderson 15,258 $593
18 Asheboro 25,978 $601
19 Hickory 40,274 $676
20 Leland 17,023 $1,086
21 Pinehurst 15,522 $1,545
22 Burlington 52,570 $750
23 Davidson 12,076 $1,054
24 Matthews 30,054 $1,047
25 Wilmington 113,724 $872
26 Hendersonville 13,548 $757
27 Concord 85,753 $838
28 Stallings 14,759 $1,254
29 Thomasville 27,178 $647
30 Laurinburg 15,601 $594
31 Chapel Hill 59,005 $1,061
32 Reidsville 14,107 $646
33 Apex 43,893 $1,162
34 Huntersville 51,701 $1,130
35 Wake Forest 36,472 $973
36 Mount Airy 10,364 $613
37 Garner 27,625 $954
38 Kannapolis 45,685 $827
39 New Bern 30,075 $851
40 Clayton 18,553 $1,034
41 Holly Springs 30,126 $1,231
42 Knightdale 13,787 $975
43 Carrboro 20,867 $945
44 Waxhaw 12,398 $1,228
45 Lumberton 21,646 $651
46 Kernersville 23,736 $726
47 Fuquay-Varina 22,722 $1,050
48 Roanoke Rapids 15,454 $729
49 High Point 108,982 $793
50 Mooresville 35,387 $974
51 Mebane 13,592 $831
52 Asheville 87,531 $910
53 Goldsboro 35,924 $738
54 Boone 18,241 $849
55 Fayetteville 203,670 $884
56 Monroe 34,212 $838
57 Hope Mills 16,189 $854

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